Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week in Reading

The Elfish Gene, by Mark Barrowcliffe, pages 122 – 201.
The First Confessor, by Terry Goodkind, pages 154 – 327.

DC Bombshells 1
Gotham by Midnight 8
Strangehaven 13 – 18

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review of The Book of Strange New Things

Book #34. The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber. Unabridged audio.

I loved the concept of this novel as soon as I heard it, but I confess I was worried. The cynic in me assumed how the story would go, and how it would end.

The premise is that in the near future (from what I can tell; I don’t recall a specific year ever being given), an English pastor is called trillions of miles into space to bring Jesus’ Gospel to the alien natives of a distant planet. It turns out that the priest, Peter Leigh, is in fact the second pastor to these people, who he names Oasans. He is shocked when his congregation welcomes him with a rousing if barely intelligible version of “Amazing Grace.” They want him to teach from his Bible, which they refer to as the “book of strange new things.”

The priest was invited to this missionary work, but his wife oddly was not. She stays behind with their cat, and learns shortly after her husband leaves that she is pregnant. Through her long-distance emails, Peter learns that in his time away, Earth has been subject to events that seem vaguely apocalyptic. Her faith wavers, both in her husband and in their God.

I have read plenty of novels from evangelical authors, from evangelical publishing houses, and if this were one of those, I could predict every beat of the certain happy ending. But this is a story from a mainstream publisher, and I admit that I assumed by the end of the novel, the preacher would have lost his faith, his marriage, and his congregation. But the story in fact was much more complicated than that, much more nuanced. And that pleased me.

I plan to write more about the way that the missionary’s work, life, and family are portrayed on the From Dorkness to Light blog.

This is the author’s sixth published novel, and the 55-year-old announced that he would retire from fiction, this novel standing as his last. If he chooses to come back to the world of fiction, I’d be interested in reading what he writes next. If this part of his career ends with this novel, this is not a bad way to go out.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

This Week in Reading

The Elfish Gene, by Mark Barrowcliffe, pages 78 – .122
Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods, COMPLETED. Reviewed here.
The First Confessor, by Terry Goodkind, pages 1 – 154.
Blackhawk 122
Bugs Bunny 120
Constantine the Hellblazer 3
War of the Gods 1 – 4

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review of Hot Pursuit

Book #33. Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods. Unabridged audio.

I have read all of Stuart Woods’ novels, even as he pumps out multiple books per year. I assume he has co-authors or ghostwriters, but none are noted, at least not in the small print of the audiobooks.

In this novel, the stories of Stone Barrington and the world he lives in continue on from the prior novels. President Kate Lee has been inaugurated, and by the end of the novel she has given birth her son. Stone Barrington has picked up his new airplane, and all looks good.

Until it become clear that terrorist operative are targeting the President, and her top aides. And perhaps the British PM is also a target. Barrington and his friend Dino Bichetti are drawn in to the case, and this turns into an international spy thriller.

The novels that Woods has published over the last five years have been inconsistent, to put it mildly. But this one was strong, an adventurous romp with some memorable scenes. The only odd thing was that the novel seemed to take place around Barrington, with him Holly Barker and others, including a few new characters, taking center stage. But it was a satisfying read nonetheless.

As always, narrator Tony Roberts does an excellent job bringing Barrington and his friends to life in the audio version of the novel.

Source: public library

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Page 11 of  The Elfish Gene, by Mark Barrowcliffe

"On Monday the school term began, and by Tuesday the dark forces would take me. Family, friends, girls, food, everything would become as bright images receding into a void as I slipped into a shadow world from which I have never truly emerged. I would discover Dungeons and Dragons."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This Week in Reading

The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber, COMPLETED .
The Elfish Gene, by Mark Barrowcliffe, pages 35 – 78.
Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods, pages 1 – 87.

Betty & Veronica 152
Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam 1
Bugs Bunny 211
DC Super Stars (of Space) 8
Starfire 3
Thor 338 – 348

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Podcast Guest Appearances

Over the last few number of weeks, I've been privileged to appear as a guest on a number of friend's excellent podcasts. There are a few more to be recorded and released in the near future, but here are three that have been recently released.

Trentus Magnus invited me on to be part of the "Extinction Level Event" mini-series on his Trentus Magnus Punches Reality podcast. We spoke about the Armageddon 2001 mini-series, on episode 105 of his show.

I talked about three Ultra-Man comic books, and an issue of Shogun Warriors with my friend Luke Jaconetti, on episode 41 of his Earth Destruction Directive podcast. Luke's show usually covers Godzilla movies, the Ultra-Man TV show, giant monster comic books and other similar media.

On a totally different note, I recently spoke with my podcasting buddy Michael Bailey on the music-themed podcast Long Play. We spoke about an album we both love, Meat Loaf's classic record "Bat Out Of Hell" on episode 12 of that podcast. I love talking about comic books, but it was great to talk about music for a change.

I thank these podcasting buddies for their hospitality. It is always a pleasure to podcast with them.